Guyanese man held in NY with cocaine-laced rum spent two years in jail

Wilton Sinclair, who was held on November 17, 2014 at the JFK Airport in New York with four bottles of cocaine-laced rum was sentenced to time served on November 21, 2016.

It meant that Sinclair spent just over two years in jail after pleading guilty to the importation of 8.2 kilogrammes of cocaine.

Sinclair had been intercepted at JFK after arriving on a Caribbean Airlines BW flight 525 from Trinidad. He acknowledged transporting the cocaine-laced bottles on an earlier flight from Guyana to Trinidad.

He was been selected for passenger screening at JFK Airport and was found to be carrying four, 1.75-litre bottles of rum which were seen to contain a thick syrup-like substance inconsistent with rum. According to US court documents, the substance in each of the four bottles field tested positive for cocaine. Sinclair was then placed under arrest. He later said he was to be paid US$6,000 to transport the four bottles with the cocaine.

Sinclair is to be on supervised release for three years.  His case led to the jailing of a special constable here when it became clear that Sinclair must have had help to get through airport security.

On February 3, 2016, special constable Jermain Bristol was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment on a charge of conspiracy to traffic cocaine that Sinclair was carrying.

Bristol, who was employed at the Special Constabulary for over a year and assigned to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman at a city court on February 3 for sentencing on his trafficking in cocaine charge. Magistrate Latchman found the defendant guilty of the charge, to which he had pleaded not guilty, sentenced him to 60 months’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay a fine of $30,000. When given the opportunity to speak, Bristol told the court that he was framed, adamantly maintaining his innocence.

Bristol first appeared before the court on January 19, 2015. He and Margaret Jacobs, who was also a special constable assigned to the CJIA, were charged with conspiring with persons unknown on November 17, 2014, at the CJIA, to traffic in narcotics. They had both pleaded not guilty. Prosecutor Bharat Mangru had highlighted that CCTV footage revealed that both Bristol and Jacobs were seen operating outside of their normal functions at the CJIA.  They were contacted and asked to explain, after which, he added, Bristol admitted that he was paid by Sinclair to help traffic the cocaine.

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